What do Anushka Sharma, Mouni Roy and Mithila Palkar have in common?

By Aishwarya Ramesh , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising
Published : February 11, 2019 05:05 AM
All three -- one movie star, one TV star, one internet star -- have been associated with the same skincare brand as celebrity endorsers.

In the past Anushka Sharma, Bharti Singh and Mouni Roy have all worked as ambassadors for Joy Personal Care. But why has OTT actress Mithila Palkar been signed on to represent their new line of products? "We wanted her as an endorser because she's a big influencer with India's youth today," says Poulomi Roy, CMO of RSH Global.

"It's no longer about being famous or a part of Bollywood. When it comes to Mithila, the context we're setting her up in is very relevant for millennials and as a brand," she adds.

Products from Joy Personal Care's new mass premium segment will be slightly more advanced when it comes to delivering specific results.

The target group (TG) varies for each product, as does the TG for every ambassador. "The TG for face wash might be slightly younger than the TG for a body lotion. Anybody above 30 is my major target audience; about 25-30 onwards is a segment that goes for most lotions. For a facewash or a sunscreen, it's a slightly younger crowd. Brand Joy looks to serve women in Tier II cities who are aspirational in their own rights," She explains.

She emphasizes that the products are not so aspirational that they're out of the consumers reach, "It's not just products that are made for the red carpet. We cater to the Bhaarat Janta by making affordable products with great efficacies."

A still from Mithila's popular show 'Little Things' A still from Mithila's popular show 'Little Things'

Poulomi tells us that Joy signed Anushka for the facewash category in 2011, while Bharti Singh and Mouni Roy represented the lotion category. "We do not sign on a celebrity and think of creating an ad around her. We first craft the brand story and then find out who to pick," says Poulomi.

With an ad featuring comedienne Bharti Singh, the theme Joy chose was 'why can't an overweight woman be beautiful?' "We felt Bharti could speak the brand language," she explains.

When it comes to Mouni Roy, the theme was that beauty with brains is a rare combination. "Her personality lent very beautifully to that concept. A lot has been said about her work on Naagin but the fact is, very few people know that she is a Jamia graduate. It's the brand story that gets featured with the celeb. Anyone who sees the brand should be able to get a gist of the cultural language that it is speaking in," Poulomi adds.

Some industry experts weighed in on Joy's strategy...

Rinal Shah, Brand Strategy Manager, Schbang

Rinal Shah Rinal Shah

Celebrity endorsement has been adopted as a common marketing strategy by brands to build brand association and increase awareness & recall - it eventually leads to sales. Brands often engage with multiple endorsers, but it is not common practice for brands to work with different endorsers from different backgrounds. Joy Personal Care has a range of hair and skin care products that are used across demographics. As a result, I believe the target audience is not restricted to any one industry. Bringing on endorsers across fields is a good way to increase their reach across multiple markets.

Having said that, such a strategy may also dilute the brand messaging and the impact of the brand ambassador. There is currently a huge movement where celebrities are shifting from endorsing brands for monetary value to brands that they truly believe in and consume themselves. As a result, it is a good strategy to select one ambassador that truly fits the brand's philosophy and TG, and carry out lasting associations with them.

Endorsers work for a brand because they build a relationship with the audience in terms of either relatability or aspiration. It is a journey for a brand to create awareness for the endorser whom the customers trust and eventually will be influenced by. There is definitely an advantage of having a single celebrity endorser for the brand over time as they create a relationship with the audience and gives a personality to the brand. A diverse set of endorsers can help the brand reach a wider audience but they need to ensure that significant efforts are made to create a relationship between the consumer and the endorser.

I believe there is no harm having multiple endorsers over a period of time but the brand needs to maintain consistency in their communication. Joy Cosmetics is consistent in their core communication of 'Beauty by Nature', which is the big takeaway. The celebrity associations are used not as the primary source of engagement, but as an additional means to reinforce the message.

Rajiv Dingra, Founder & CEO, WATConsult

Rajiv Dhingra Rajiv Dingra

I think a brand can go with different brand ambassadors when it's targeting different audiences. The messaging and the film are more important than having a representative. In today's world, brands are open to experimenting with brand ambassadors and seeing which one actually works for each category. Given India's diversity, there is an opportunity to look at multiple brand ambassadors and look at them in phases.

I think this has more to do with the costs of ambassadors as they become bigger. It may also stem from the fact that they are looking at the lifespan of a brand ambassador only for 1-2 years. They want to stay relevant... I think it's very strategic and operational when it comes to how brand ambassadors are being leveraged. One brand ambassador for five years is an exception to the norm right now.

ALSO READ: Mivi announces YouTuber Bhuvan Bam as brand ambassador

Today, digital audiences are big and they identify with digital characters. Mithila has done movies like Karwaa so brands know that this is a person who is going to grow. They take those bets and get them as early brand ambassadors so that they can leverage their ads even further when they become big actors.

OTT is a space where you will find people being leveraged as brand ambassadors for a very niche audience - youth - and that's what Joy is targeting.

Rajiv also points out that Chunky Panday's daughter, Ananya Panday has been signed on by Lakme India even before her first movie has been released.

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